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The Social Animal: The Hidden Source of Love, Character, and Achievement ~David Brooks

David Brooks

David Brooks

I can hardly wait to tell you about this book, because when I discovered it I was driven nuts until I found a copy and read it. I heard about the book watching a recent TED lecture where I heard David Brooks speak about writing the book and his presentation was humorous and intrigued my imagination.

I did not receive this book from a publishing company or book tour group.

I watched the video of the TED lecture at least eight times. It just kept drawing me into the ideas. I thought I needed to know more. I knew of David Brooks from watching him on PBS Evening News. I had no idea that he was as funny as I always perceived of him as kind, thoughtful and rational.

The book is about a fictional boy and a girl from birth to death and all the layers of their lives as interpreted by Brooks through his vast knowledge of brain research, politics and independent studies. Since many of the things explained through these characters, developing throughout their lives, were things that I had found true in my own life and in raising my children the information truly hooked me.

I like how the book was laid out, how it started with the conception of each child and the story behind all the attractions, all the feelings and thoughts that went into that process. On top of that, the author layers template after template of different aspects of development onto the basic fictional story; how the mind, culture, and environment change the dynamics of growth and living. The book is like painting a picture of a human life and then adding each new color, each new layer within the story of these two individuals, creating a depth- image – a whole. The templates that he offers up are the following: mindsite, attachment, decisions, learning, norms, self control, culture, intelligence, choice, freedom and commitment, limerence, and me’tis, getting older, morality, and meaning. Although the characters are fictional they are definitely representational and as they approach death the beauty of the painting is revealed and all the layering is hidden in the revealed beauty of their humanity.

Over and over again Brooks speaks of the importance of emotions, emotional strength, and of being able to have honest dialogue with one’s self and with others – how to get out of your head and into action and responsibility.   This, of course, is part of my life’s work and where I put much of my energy towards my utopian vision of living a full and rewarding life.

David Brooks is the New York Times columnist and a contributor to the PBS Evening News as the conservative voice.

I wanted to share the TED lecture with you that inspired me.

I am profoundly moved when ideas are integrated and in this case, and in this book the ideas are integrated with humor and insight for an amazing outcome.

Maybe my words here will inspire you to read this book. I know you will enjoy the video.

If you order this book new from Amazon via my site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Do you ever just know that you need to read a book or have an experience? Do you follow through or does the idea disappear or fad?

Related reading you might enjoy:
Freedom by Franzen
The Element by Robinson
I love this Magazine

Lets talk?

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17 Responses to “The Social Animal: The Hidden Source of Love, Character, and Achievement ~David Brooks”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. I can see what you mean .. and listened to the TED video .. extremely interesting and yes at some stage I’ll need to read the book. Interesting his thoughts on our consciousness and our better understanding of human nature, albeit only a few see this now .. some more of us feel it.

    Thanks excellent review – cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Memorial Day- Memories and recognition My Profile

  2. Patricia Says:

    Oh please do add this book to your list – it is so full of hope and one can easily see how important love and respect is to all development. It is rather like a biography with all the scientific data related right to each line.

    His take on all the silly things we do to avoid realities that come up is certainly amazing – like how we please other people instead of ourselves. And policy wonks….well watch out he has a great laugh at your expense and waste of money!

  3. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Sounds very interesting. Thank you for the detailed review.
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..Where Can I Find Sandals for Ugly FeetMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    It is very interesting and very readable – the journalist is a good storyteller and conveyor of the message.

    He certainly sees a coming paradigm change that is not based on bling or good looks, but meaning

    I think you would enjoy this read.

  4. Evita Says:

    Revolution of consciousness….!!!!!

    Oh Patricia this video spoke to my heart and resonated with me very much. Thank you for sharing as I don’t believe I have heard of David Brooks before (probably did somewhere in passing)

    Anyway I love TED talks and this one was right up my alley. How hopeful, and empowering to hear where the human race is going. Yes, I feel it and I see it through the work of people like yourself – bringing humanity back and going beyond the shallow nature we have been conditioned to believe we have.

    What spoke to me so much too is when he referred to how much insight babies have, and what they pick up from their moms. Honestly, this always moves me deeply for I think of how many women do not realize this and are giving their children a less than fair view of the world through their eyes. We need to get conscious, we need to go deeper for there is such an amazing element of depth to our existence, but so often we simply get stuck in the world that David explains at the beginning thinking that is all there is to life.

    Awesome stuff Patricia – thank you for sharing!

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for your awesome comment and coming on by…this talk and this book just grabbed me and here is this conservative journalist – writing about all the politicians and policies and seeing a loving hopeful change for the future – disregarding all the phony baloney stuff and that the change of consciousness is coming and empowering.

  5. Joy Says:

    Wow..this TED talked spoke right to me…so much resonated within..and affirmed for me my own personal beliefs and how they shape the choices I make in raising my children and interacting with other through heart connections.
    I love this sentence in your review: “The book is like painting a picture of a human life and then adding each new color, each new layer within the story of these two individuals, creating a depth- image – a whole.”..
    This is how we may create daily: adding each new color, new layer, creating depth..
    Thank you for this wonderful reflection!
    Joy recently posted..A “Buddha Chick” and a Magnificent GiveawayMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for your kind words…yep the video is amazing as is the book – just what the folks need to hear right now and very much full of love and hope….

    Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for making a much appreciated comment. I am a bit behind this week with a nasty virus of some kind – just keeping me napping on and off and drinking tea…but not reading so much

    hugs to you

  6. susan Says:

    Hi Patricia! I’m behind in listening to Ted (not to mention reading blogs) so I’m doubly thankful you put this on! Wow! I’m ordering the book – enjoy the beans! :) Your review was sterling! I pick you as THE best reviewer ever!

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you so very much and I love thinking of myself as the best reviewer ever – You will not be upset that you bought this book – I can almost guarantee it – I could not put it down, it has so much value in it.

    Brooks has so much charm and wisdom and I think the whole society could use to read and understand his words…
    Thank you

  7. Talon Says:

    Totally intriguing, Patricia. Thanks for this amazing review. I’ll definitely be getting this book.

    Wouldn’t it be something if we got past the extraneous stuff and really got to the heart of what makes us human and what makes us humanly successful.
    Talon recently posted..Gone- but not forgottenMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I think you are right on and this is just a fabulous book and read – all about how we can be more loving and respectful…at the same time being more complete people – the book is so worth it. Mr. Brooks has truly earned his place on the TED circuit with a valuable resource.

  8. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    I do ‘need’ to read certain books and usually it’s when more than 2 people repeatedly tell me about the same one. I have a Kindle with one book on it! LOL

    I still like hold in my hand books. I read, re-read, underline and dog ear pages. I like the feel and smell of books. I hope hard copies never go extinct!

    Patricia Reply:

    This is an exceptional book and I think you would find it amazing. I underline and take notes on the Kindle and now I find the next two books I am reading hard cover – hard because I have to keep tablet and pencil right beside me to take notes and reference.

    I do not think in hand books will ever disappear..but wow am I truly loving my Kindle…and I have it on my cellphone/PC and laptop mac….easier to glean quotes and write the post…or prepare for book group

    I like being a fluent as possible and I don’t like to miss the good stuff – this book is the good stuff. Trust me!

  9. Stage Play “H4″ based on Shakespeare, Godard’s “Film Socialism,” “Went the Day Well?.” “X-Men” and “Bridesmaids” on Monday Morning Diary (June 6) « Wonders in the Dark Says:

    […] At Patricia’s Wisdom, Pat has posted an an engaging feature on the “social animal” David Brooks:                                                                              http://patriciaswisdom.com/2011/06/the-social-animal-the-hidden-source-of-love-character-and-achieve… […]

  10. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) Says:

    I’ve been very curious about this book. I liked Brooks’ TED Talk when I watched it a bit ago, so I’m glad to hear the book is similar. I like your description of the organization as well — sounds cool.

    patricia Reply:

    I wish I could say that everyone SHOULD read this book, but I find that never works…the book is an extraordinary read and the TED lecture is just a nibble….

    Welcome and thank you for coming by…I enjoyed your review and candidness…I am reading one now that is not the book for me – it is good, but I am getting cranky!

    Thank you…I think you would like the book – it is a fictional story using the data and research…very interesting